Twentieth-century treatments for cancer - which relied mostly on poisoning tumours through chemotherapy or burning them away with radiation - remain the major weapons in our arsenal. But newer, more sophisticated treatments are starting, slowly, to make an impact. These include:
"Small-molecule" drugs that interfere with the signals inside cancer cells. One such drug is Glivec (Gleevec in the US), or imatinib, which targets abnormal proteins that instruct cancer cells to grow. Glivec is used to treat one type of leukaemia and a rare tumour of the gut.